British Museum Temporary Shutdown After Greenpeace Protest

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
May 19, 2016

The British Museum in London was forced to temporarily close earlier today (19 May) when Greenpeace activists protested at BP’s sponsorship of the exhibition Sunken Cities, Egypt’s Lost Worlds (until 27 November).

The activists were calling attention to the British oil company BP’s sponsorship of the museum’s current “Sunken Cities” exhibition, which the museum is billing as the “first major exhibition of underwater archaeology.” The activists have rebranded it “Sinking Cities.”

The demonstrators climbed the museum’s front columns, unfurling 27-foot long banners emblazoned with the words Sinking Cities. The museum was subsequently closed from 10am to 2pm to ensure visitors’ safety, a spokeswoman says. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said 11 people had been arrested for aggravated trespass.

Sunken Cities, which opens today, presents 300 artefacts, around 200 of which were found off the coast of Egypt within the past 20 years by a team from the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM) under the direction of the French archaeologist Franck Goddio. Highlights include a six-tonne, fourth-centuryBC statue of Hapi, the god of the inundation of the Nile.

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